Itanagar: Two Chinese nationals have visited Arunachal Pradesh, bordering China, on wrong Protected Area Permits (PAPs), instead of the Restricted Area Permit (RAP), issued by the Deputy Resident Commissioner (DRC) of Arunachal Pradesh office in Guwahati.
DRC officials here said they came to know about the "administrative mix-up" only when a local newspaper of Arunachal Pradesh reported about it yesterday.
The office immediately launched a probe and preliminary investigations revealed that the two Chinese nationals from Hong Kong -- Young James John and Wu Chong Shong – were issued the Protected Area Permit (PAP) when they should have been given the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) as per the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) guidelines, the officials said.
Stating that citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan require RAP to be issued by the MHA, they said the two Chinese nationals' application for PAP was recommended to the DRC Guwahati office by the Resident Tourism Officer of the Arunachal Pradesh government based on their tourist visa.
It must have been a case of the officer concerned here "overlooking" the Chinese citizenship of the two and issuing them the PAP, instead of RAP, without taking prior permission from the MHA, the officials said.
"We are conducting an investigation into the case and will send our report to the Arunachal Pradesh government which will submit it to the MHA," they said.
Giving details of the permit issued to the two foreign tourists, the officials said that PAP was issued to the two Chinese nationals on August 30 on their applications to visit Tawang, West Kameng and Lower Subansiri districts for 30 days from September 12 to October 11.
The officials also confirmed that the two Chinese nationals had visited Bomdila and a copy of their PAP was found from a hotel there.
But, the officials did not immediately know if they visited strategically important Tawang and West Kameng which are out of bounds for Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Chinese citizens. These places are of security concern for India as China claims Tawang as its territory.
The Arunachal Pradesh daily had reported that "taking serious cognizance over illegal issuance of PAP to Chinese nationals, Arunachal Pradesh Tour Operators Association (ATOA) has lodged a complaint against the then DRC DJ Borah at Itanagar police station, alleging violation of the PAP Act".
"The association has demanded for the immediate arrest of the DRC responsible for letting the Chinese nationals to venture into Arunachal Pradesh. Terming the incident as breach of national security and gross violation of the laid down guidelines, the association opined that such an instance of issuing PAP to foreign nationals could be subversive for national security," the newspaper report said.
"It (ATOA) demanded the government to modify and issue notification that PAP should be allowed with sponsorship of local registered tour operators," it added....